Presidential election campaign in Sri Lanka ends

January 24th, 2010 - 1:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Jan 24 (DPA) Sri Lanka’s presidential election campaign ended amid reports of violence, intimidation and irregularities ahead of the Jan 26 poll, police and election monitors said Sunday.
The campaign for Tuesday’s election ended with the top candidates, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his former army commander retired General Sarath Fonseka, addressing rallies in the capital.

Police raided a Buddhist temple in Colombo and found 56 hand grenades, two T-56 assault rifles and munitions, military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said.

The abbot, Uvathanne Sumana Thera, was arrested, he said.

The monk is a supporter of the opposition candidate Fonseka.

Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya warned of attempts to rig the elections by impersonating voters.

“We have reports that organised groups are planning to collect national identity cards of voters to impersonate them and vote. We have called the public to be alert on any attempts to collect these documents,” Balasuriya said.

The national identity card is a compulsory document for voting and therefore could also prevent voters from casting their ballot.

In a separate incident, a Navy truck transporting posters against Fonseka was detected in north-western Sri Lanka.

More than 850 poll-related incidents including four deaths, attacks on political party offices, threatening of voters and shooting incidents were reported in the six-week campaign.

Nearly 70,000 policemen are being deployed for Tuesday’s elections for which 14 million voters are registered.

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